A few weeks back, at CES, Sony debuted a the P Series Lifestyle PC. At 1.4 pounds with an 8 inch LCD, the P Series is just a little smaller than your average netbook, however the company remains adamant that this is not a netbook and it has the price to back things up.
The P Series with a 60 GB HDD ships for $899.99 with Vista Home Basic (don’t forget it’s dual-boot to XMB). Models go up in price from there, with options for SSDs ranging from 64 GB to 128 GB and an upgrade to Vista Home Premium.
A lot of people balked at the near enough $900 price tag, especially when you consider the fact that it runs on Intel’s Atom processor, the same as you’d find in a regular, much cheaper netbook. Verizon is looking to make the netbook a little easier on your wallet by offering a $200 mail in rebate, according to Pocketables.
As is the case with most rebates, there are a couple of catches. For one, your only avail of the rebate when you activate or renew a two year wireless broadband plan with Verizon. While two hundred bucks is still two hundred bucks, we’re not really sure a $60 a month plan on a two year plan is worth it.
So what’s the verdict, is the Verizon deal enough to push you to get a Vaio P on contract?
If this little guy had the 9300gs Nvidia graphics set, a P8400 processor and 4 gigs of DDR2 or even DDR3, it'd be more than a steal at $900 (given the small form factor) and have the computing power someone would want in the $800-$1100 price group. But with an Atom processor, no real onboard video worth mentioning, and low RAM and storage space, it looks, feels, and acts like a $299 netbook from Asus. Sony will claim that those do not have the larger solid state drives that its Vaio P does: but the larger drives would be there for data storage, and for large data storage you have a computer to either A) just store it (like a server) or B) crunch it and do something with it. An Atom powered computer doesn't have that capability.
This does make sense with Sony's overrall strategy though. If you look at the rest of the Vaio lineup, its not really priced against a competing HP, Gatewal, Dell or Toshiba computer. For the money a Sony commands, you can almost always find better hardware out there. Checking Sony's website and marketing material, Sony is much more about the "Sony Style" of things now. They aren't selling computers: they are selling "Lifestyle Accessories." Cutting through the rest of the marketing literature, it means that these items are intended to sell with people that have a desire to have the best of everything and back it up stylishly. In more laymen's terms: people with to much money, enough so to blow it on underpowered hardware without really understanding whta they are paying for, but will buy it anyway because it looks and sounds good. The "Sony" name is one that the company really wants to make premium, something people will pay extra for.
Me, I liked it better when they just mae good electronics at good prices, it wasn't about social class and status. But, if Sony wants to walk the line between digging a grave and gaining a profitable consumer base in this way, then more power them. I wish them luck.
what you need to do sony is lower the price to like 350 bucks, not worth anything more
and while you are at it, lower the price of the PS3!